|misty morning on the lake|
In fact, if I had thousands of readers, I wouldn't dare mention it for fear of ruining the serenity of the place.
|moon over the mountain|
But really, since there aren't too many of you, you should go.
|cattails on the marshy end|
We go to unplug and check out. We fish, sit, swim, sit, kayak, sit...You get the picture.
|gareth lounging on the kayak|
One thing I get to do on this vacation is ride my bike.
On one of my rides, I came across a little roadside stand selling garlic.
Just garlic. Oh, and one bunch of beets. I didn't take a picture (darn).
There wasn't an attendant. Just a handwritten sign that said "Garlic $2.00" and a little metal box with a slit in the top where I was expected to put my money.
I put my money in the box and took my container of garlic, feeling a mix of pride for having paid and paranoia that someone might think I hadn't. In fact, I wanted to look around to see if anyone had taken note as I put the correct number of dollars in the box, but I also worried that if I did look around, a person watching might find that suspicious, as if I were planning to steal something.
I live in a big metropolitan area. I'm clearly not used to being trusted.
I discovered that I really liked it.
This, apparently, is not uncommon. I remembered a story I heard on NPR about honor system vegetable stands. They explained that it's a win-win. The farmer gets to stay in the field, practicing his trade instead of babysitting his customers. We get a good feeling from being trusted while we also get something delicious that we wanted.
I agree. Win-Win. And win.
As I rode my bike past other stands, I felt lifted, happy that I proved to be the kind of person who wouldn't pilfer pints of pretty blueberries from hardworking farmers. These farmers gave me that good feeling, and for that, I wanted all the more to prove worthy--and to buy their produce.
Blueberries like these go for $5.00 a pint at the markets where I live. Could we put them out on the corner and expect to collect?
|blueberries for $3.50/pint|
A psychologist in the NPR story claims that 25% of people are honest, 25% are mostly honest, 25% are dishonest, and 25% are erratic. That's 75% of us that at least have a shot at doing the right thing. I think those are pretty good odds. Although I guess it still means that eventually, someone's going to take the blueberries.
In a small community, where you regularly run into the farmer buying eye-hooks and picture hangers in the hardware store, and your kids go to school together, I bet the odds are even better that you wouldn't slip an extra zucchini into your bag--or run off with the cash box for that matter. In a larger community, however, I imagine feelings of anonymity might make it easier to cheat your neighbor out of a turnip or two.
But I believe even us big city folks can be trusted too, if you give us a chance. I'm thinking my friend Jay should try this to remedy his tomato emergency (and the many other vegetable related emergencies he has coming down the pike).
For the record, the stands I passed didn't have the air of emergency about them. This one only had a few cucumbers for sale when I went by. The whole garden even lay in the background, asking to be pillaged--or perhaps just hoping to be admired.
|7 cukes for sale|
|all organic produce |
cukes $.50 3 for $1.40
zucchini $.75 each
For me, a tourist, I felt privileged to move through this rural world where neighbors share produce with trust and goodwill.
I took my garlic, slid my $2.00 into the little metal box, and hopped back on my bike, feeling a tall, worthy, and grateful member of the 75%.